Caramel Apple Cheesecake Cookie Bars

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You might have noticed that I’m not generally a big fan of fruity desserts. Many (ok, let’s be honest – most) of my dessert recipes lean heavy into various chocolates, caramels, nuts and creams. But, there is one exception – apples. I love apple desserts in any form, so when I came across this recipe (way back in 2011), I knew I had to make it.

For me, these bars are the ultimate mash-up of comfort and decadence. They combine a short oat cookie base, a creamy cheesecake layer, sweet apples and a streusel crumb topping. And if you really want to put them over the top, drizzle them with luscious caramel sauce just before serving. It has been so long since I originally made these that none of my kids had ever tried them. I don’t know about you, but that sounded like the perfect excuse to whip up a batch. Needless to say, they were received quite enthusiastically.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Cookie Bars

My version of the recipe is only lightly adapted from the original recipe. I added a bit of oats and some cinnamon to the cookie base to provide a little more texture and flavor that evokes the nostalgia of spiced oatmeal cookies. I swapped out half of the granulated sugar throughout the recipe for brown sugar and the rest for toasted sugar to punch up the caramel notes which play so well with both the oats and the apples. I opted for sliced apples rather than chunks because I wanted to make sure the apples cooked through and were more evenly distributed throughout. I added nutmeg and cloves to give a little more complexity to the spice profile. Finally, the whole thing begged for seasoning, so each layer got just a little bit of salt.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Cookie Bar

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Cookie Bars

Adapted from Zoom Yummy
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple, bar, caramel, cheesecake, cream cheese, crumb topping, oats


  • 1 Baking pan (9×13-inch)
  • 4 bowls (small and medium to large)
  • Pastry blender (or food processor)
  • Electric mixer
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cups



  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoon quick oats
  • 1 1/2 cup butter unsalted, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 16 ounce cream cheese room temperature
  • 1/4 cup toasted sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Apple Filling:

  • 2 apples large; peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar packed
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup oatmeal quick (or old fashioned for more texture)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup butter unsalted, cold
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping (optional):


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • In a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Alternatively, combine the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.
    1 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 6 tablespoon quick oats, 1 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • First with your fingertips, then with the bottom of a cup (or a glass), press the dough evenly into a 13×9-inch baking pan or a cookie sheet with edges. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • In the meantime, in a larger bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese with the white and brown sugars, cornstarch and salt until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time beating until fully incorporated. Next add the vanilla and mix until combined.
    16 ounce cream cheese, 1/4 cup toasted sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoon cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pour the cream cheese batter over the warm crust.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the apple slices with the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, white and brown sugars and salt.
    2 apples, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, 1 tablespoon toasted sugar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Arrange the apple slices evenly over the cream cheese mixture.
  • In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt and brown sugar for crumb topping. Cube the butter and using a pastry blender (or a fork), create a crumbly mixture. Alternatively, add the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture forms a crumbly mixture.
    1 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Crumble the topping over the apples and cream cheese mixture.
  • Bake 20 minutes, reduce the temperature to 300°F and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the filling is set.
  • Cool completely and refrigerate before cutting into bars (about 2 in x 3 in).
  • If desired, drizzle with the caramel topping just before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
    3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

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